UT Student Government calls for improvements after school stabbing


Highlights

After three weeks of meeting with administrators and police, UT’s Student Government developed an action plan.

It highlights planned changes within UT police, University Communications and the Provost’s Office.

The University of Texas’ Student Government on Thursday highlighted some of the protocols and procedures that university administrators plan to review in the wake of a knife attack that left one student dead and three others injured.

The Student Government met with UT administrators and police over the three weeks since the May 1 school stabbing before publishing an action plan online, and UT officials agreed that all these items are things they’re looking to improve.

One of the most talked about issues, the 30 minutes that passed between the moment officers got the call reporting the stabbing and when the campus-wide text alert went out — many students have said it took too long — will definitely be addressed, Student Government and university officials said. UT spokesman J.B. Bird said the university plans to send out alerts more promptly when an incident is ongoing and when it is under control.

“The events of the past day are a reminder of how diligent we must be in communicating accurate information in the age of social media,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said in statement after the stabbings. “We were too slow to let the entire campus know about the stabbings after they happened. … We will do better.”

UT police plan to seek more money to hire an additional dispatcher and a new dispatch system, the Student Government action plan says. That’s because dispatchers are the ones in charge of sending out the campus alert, and they’re pretty busy getting officers and medics the information they need in the midst of a crisis, said UT police spokeswoman Cindy Posey. Adding an additional dispatcher and upgrading the technology will allow them to send campus alerts sooner, she said.

Also during future emergencies, the University Communications department plans to involve two Student Government representatives in crisis communications. These students will relay student concerns and information directly to University Communications and help address rumors. University Communications will also work to inform parents more rapidly and encourage more parents to receive opt-in alerts.

The Provost’s Office is developing a new protocol on how class cancellations alert emails are written and communicated. The office is also working up a resource sheet for faculty that addresses how to handle crisis situations and considering student self-care. It will include best practices for accommodating students in times of need.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police union: Officers still suffering from carbon monoxide effects

Three Austin police officers are suffering long-term effects from carbon monoxide poisoning that they believe came from their police vehicles, according to the Austin Police Department’s union president. “This whole thing has been a disaster from the beginning,” said Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association. &ldquo...
Police union: Officers still suffering from carbon monoxide effects
Police union: Officers still suffering from carbon monoxide effects

Three Austin police officers are suffering long-term effects from carbon monoxide poisoning that they believe came from their police vehicles, according to the Austin Police Department’s union president. “This whole thing has been a disaster from the beginning,” said Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association. &ldquo...
Central Health budget hearing sparks debate over medical school funds
Central Health budget hearing sparks debate over medical school funds

About an hour into a discussion on Central Health’s budget that became a debate over the health district’s relationship with University of Texas’ Dell Medical School, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty announced he was fed up. “I have sat through two, three years of this stuff, and I’m, quite frankly, I&rsquo...
Bee Cave City Council parses budget
Bee Cave City Council parses budget

The Bee Cave City Council met briefly on Aug. 22 to nail down a budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year with few drastic changes. Council focused on road maintenance and police department expenses. City Manager Travis Askey showed the council a chart demonstrating costs for each of the city’s departments over the past five years. The police department...
Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case
Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan and Fran Keller, who spent more than 21 years in prison after they were accused of sexually abusing children during supposed satanic rituals at their South Austin day care facility, will receive $3.4 million from a state fund for those wrongly convicted of crimes. Shortly after receiving the news Tuesday, an ecstatic Fran Keller said they will...
More Stories